Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Eternal Odyssey Returning

Yesterday was a busy day at work, as my Mondays usually are but then we had a mandatory 1:00-4:00 p.m. meeting, so no post yesterday. Here, however, is my list of books and movies, read and watched, in September of the year 2006.

The books list is a tad sparse as one of the books took a year to read. I mean, really, it was nuts. The Libertarian informed me he was getting tired of seeing it at the gym.

Books

The Prince of Mexico by Federica de Cesco – 224 pages – I picked this up the year we got stranded in New Orleans (was it just January 2005?) at a little used bookstore, Glen and I wandered into. Being completely in love with Mexico and its history, I loved this fictionalized account of the time of Montezuma and the Cortes invasion, as it was told from the Aztecs' point of view. It wasn't great literature, but it was a nice story (the whole annihilation of a race, notwithstanding).

Living to Tell the Tale by Gabriel García Márquez - 484 pages – I have not read as many books of Sr. García Márquez's as I would have liked, but something prompted me to pick up his autobiography – in fact, I picked it up twice. Thankfully, I figured it out and returned the second one the next day. He is not what I would call an easy read, although he's very interesting. This book was not written in chronological order at all! He writes about his family (where he gets most of his story ideas, I think) and how he developed into a writer. Although it took me three weeks to read it, I did enjoy the book, but was glad when it was over.

Since I finished this on Saturday, I've already read one whole book and started another. I hope this month is a little better, reading-wise.

Movies

Come September (N) No score – My family in Mexico, actually one of the daughters, recommended this to me last year when I was there and I finally got around to it (you should see my Netflix queue – it's stupid it's so long). I never would have picked this on my own, so I'm glad I took Karla's advice. I loved it. And it was that much more interesting to me since it was the movie where Bobby Darin met Sandra Dee, and I had watched Beyond the Sea semi-recently. If you like 1950s-style romantic comedies, I would definitely recommend this.

Rushmore (G) 85% – As most of you know, I have refused to watch Bill Murray films, but recently started to give in and see them after seeing Broken Flowers which was directed by Jim Jarmusch who is my favorite independent director (holy cow, that sounds so pretentious). Again, I say "mea culpa" for avoiding his films for so long, at least the quirky dramadies. I can say unequivocally that I liked this movie and would watch it again for any nuances I probably missed. If you haven't seen it,

Ocean's 11 & Ocean's 12 (K) – I'm not going to bother linking these or anything since I watch them so often. I still love these movies for when I'm bored and don't feel like watching the profound movies that Netflix sends me.

Stage Fright (K) 82% – Another Hitchcock – I watched this a year or so ago, but finally got it back from someone and when he was talking about it, I realised I didn't remember very much about it, so I watched it again. We all know how I feel about Hitchcock movies, so suffice to say that I liked it a lot. Hitch's daughter Patricia appears in this one as a schoolmate of Jane Wyman.

The Poseidon Adventure (K) 77% - I have nothing bad to say about this movie. I've loved it for ages, although I realised that I have never (until this time since it was on DVD) seen it from the very beginning. I've always caught it on TV after the ship has already flipped. Besides the Ernest Borgnine Factor, it also has Red Buttons, Malcolm McDowell, Gene Hackman, Shelley Winters (who gained 35 lbs and took swimming lessons for the role), Jack Albertson, Carol Lynley, Stella Stevens and Pamela Sue Martin (of Nancy Drew fame) in it. How can you argue with that cast?

Jet Lag (N) 57% - I'm not sure why critics bother themselves with fluffy romantic comedies as they hate them all. I loved this movie! It's not going to tax your brain, unless reading subtitles is too much for you, but I thought it was an enjoyable fluffy romantic comedy. It's French, but it has Juliette Binoche and Jean Reno in it. Non-foreign film watchers might remember her as the chocolatier in Chocolat while Jean Reno has apparently been in the first Mission: Impossible film. I've seen enough Jean Reno films now that I've been contemplating him for my List of Five and eliminating David J, as I'm pretty darn sure he's gay. (Yeah, it might be the boa that gives it away.)

Clerks (R) 86% - I borrowed this from my friend Rob because I thought I was going to see Clerks II and it had been a really long time since I had seen the original. I still haven't see Clerks II, but enjoyed seeing Clerks again as I had forgotten most of it. Still a fun, independent film and worth watching if you haven't seen it before or rewatching it if you have.

This is Spinal Tap (G) 97% - Somehow, I managed to miss this movie even though I love Christopher Guest films and even though it was played at damn near every party back in college (actually, I was out of college, but most of my friends were still there). I wouldn't say I liked it 97% worth, but I definitely thought it was very funny and after seeing the rest of Guest's mockumentaries, I recognise damn near everybody. If you liked Best in Show, A Mighty Wind or Waiting for Guffman, then I say check the original out. I'm glad I finally saw it.

Wages of Fear (B) 100% - I saw this movie years ago at the DFT (Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts – much too lazy to link) and remember being on the edge of my seat. It features Yves Montand who is always worth the price of admission. Maybe it was the group of friends with whom I watched it, but the first time around I had missed all the hints of gayness, and I think that helped cut the tension that I know I felt the first time I saw it.

The Ladykillers (1955) (TCM) 100% - This is the original version with Alec Guinness and as it is in my 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book, I taped it when I saw it was going to be on TCM. I'm all about checking movies off in my book (This is Spinal Tap is also in the book.), so I was happy to see it w/o having to Netflix it. I have not seen the Tom Hanks' version, so I can't compare, but once again the cast in this baby is stellar! Peter Sellers in his first film role with Katie Johnson in her last as Mrs. Wilberforce. We all know I'm all about the old movies these days but I think even people who prefer films made within the past 20 years would like this. Yup, I recommend it.

Munich (N) 77% - This was the last of last year's Best Film Oscar nominees for me to see. I just read a review at rottentomatoes and it said that the film humanized the terrorists as well as the people sent to hunt them down afterwards and that's definitely what it did. I was only seven when this happened, so I wasn't really too aware of all the nuances involved, if I even knew it happened. And even later, I was fairly ignorant about the details. I liked this movie better than Syriana and really more than I thought I would.

The Double McGuffin (1979) (N) No score – I remember this movie from when it hit HBO in either late 1979 or early 1980. I watched it every time it was on. I absolutely loved this movie, and am happy to say that the intervening 26 years have not changed my opinion of it. It has the Ernest Borgnine Factor, so there's that. But there's also the kids taking on the adults theme and even though I'm technically an adult, I still like this idea (probably because I don't have kids). This movie brought about the film debut of Lisa Whelchel.

Notorious (K) 96% (although the one review that didn't like it was apparently written by a moron, so let's say 100% when it comes to normal people who weren't raised on action films) – Classic Hitchcock and we all know I love him, to say nothing of Cary Grant or Ingrid Bergman. Jason got me this for my b-day after I mentioned the fact that I had been unable to find it – it's too classic Hitch not to have in my collection – and he found it for me. I still get caught up in the suspense of the key and the wine cellar and the poisoning, no matter how many times I've seen it. This will probably pop up semi-regularly on my Movies Watched This Month List, so be prepared.

Catwoman (N) 9% – Wow, what can I say except that everybody was right? What an incredible piece of dreck! I only Netflixed it because Peter Wingfield is in it (for a whopping 12.5 seconds) and we all know how much I love and adore and lust after Peter. It was sad how little he was in it and how awful the movie was. Not even Benjamin Bratt was enough to make me watch this fully – and by that I mean, without doing something else at the same time – like cleaning (not that I cleaned, although I did walk out of the room without worrying about pausing the DVD). It was ridiculously horrible. My favorite review said "It's bad enough that not only are careers over, but somebody should be slapped." It's worth reading the whole review as it is much better than the movie itself.

Thank God I was able to follow up that incredible piece of pig dung Catwoman with Rashomon (TCM) 100% - so I was able to get the residue of complete shite out of my mind's eye/brain. I mean, Really. Thank God for Akira Kurosawa. I liked the idea of this movie – a crime occurs and then you hear the story from four different sources – the three involved and a watcher. If you have yet to see any Kurosawa I'd start with Yojimbo, just because it was remade as that Clint Eastwood spaghetti western whose name is escaping me right now, so it'll seem a little more familiar. Rashomon, however, is very worthy of being someone's first.

The sad thing about this list is that all those movies were watched by 9/19. Road America and last week kept me too busy since then to watch anything else.

4 Comments:

At Tuesday, 03 October, 2006, Blogger trinamick said...

I didn't believe everyone about Catwoman either, and I subjected myself to it. So glad I listened when warned about Gigli.

 
At Tuesday, 03 October, 2006, Anonymous Woof said...

Hey Kathleen - the Clint Eastwood film would be "A Fistful of Dollars". (There was also a Bruce Willis remake of that story as well, that one I can't remember)

Oh, and on the Jean Reno films: Leon is great. (US title of "The Professional") I've probably mentioned that once before here, but I'm doing that again.

 
At Wednesday, 04 October, 2006, Blogger Kathleen said...

Trina - The whole Jennifer Lopez issue was enough to keep me away from Gigli.

Woof - I even have watched it recently but couldn't come up with the title to save my life. Loved Leon: The Professional - watched that last month, I think.

 
At Thursday, 05 October, 2006, Blogger Sal said...

Gabriel is my favorite author ever, Living to Tell was really difficult for me to read because I remembered different scenes from his various books. I almost had to pull out my entire collection of his books to compare the fiction to the reality, you know how I get...

 

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